Urban Redevelopment and Historic Preservation

The renewed desire of people to live, work, and recreate in urban centers has resulted in increased attention and activity centered on urban redevelopment. Simply put, urban redevelopment is the adaptive reuse of existing buildings or often the demolition of older buildings in favor of new ones. Former industrial buildings are repurposed or make way for new, modern class A office space or residential apartments, grounded by new commercial tenants. Increased parking demands must often be addressed and creative solutions will frequently need to be developed. Existing and outdated underground utilities must be taken into consideration. Urban Redevelopment will frequently test the bounds of building height regulations, and any other number zoning regulations.

These projects also tend to trigger historic preservation issues. Many boroughs and other urbanized municipalities, as well as some rural ones too, have adopted regulations that govern historic preservation of older buildings. Some municipalities seek to designate buildings as “historic” simply by virtue of their age, thereby testing the limits of their power to regulate the alteration or demolition of existing structures. Often, the historic preservation issues are reviewed by a board that is separate from the governing body or zoning hearing board. This adds another layer of complexity and procedure to an already challenging process. In this area, what you don’t know can really hurt a project. Failing to obtain all of the necessary approvals on one timeline can leave the municipality with another “bite at the apple” so to speak, in cases where developers thought they had all required approvals. The MacElree Harvey Land Use Department has championed many land use projects that involve urban redevelopment and historic preservation and its attorneys have the experience, skill, and knowledge to provide you with excellent counsel in these areas.

If you would like to schedule a consultation, please call the firm at 610.436.0100 or submit the contact request form.